A playlist of the best songs from January for your listening pleasure.
Sleater-Kinney “Price Tag”
I talked about this release a little bit last week, this song–the album opener–is lead by Corin Tucker’s aggressive vocals as she attacks the song, a repeated riff lines the background, and the drums pound away. The song touches on the cost of getting things for cheap–probably music most of all.
The Decemberists “Philomena”
The latest album by The Decemberists seemed mediocre at best upon first listen, but “Philomena”‘s pure and relentless folk poppiness is a real heart melter. It’s doo-wop stylings are a great throwback, even if it doesn’t hide it’s impure intentions as well as songs from that era did.
Panda Bear “Crosswords”
Noah Benjamin Lennox’s work in Animal Collective and as Panda Bear is divisive–it’s often eclectic and experimental, but Lennox is capable of creating amazing melodies, often being compared to Brian Wilson of Beach Boys fame. Here, Lennox creates a dreamy melody backed by the psychadelic samplings he’s known for.
Kanye West with Paul McCartney “Only One”
This song is perhaps more famous for the memes about McCartney that it inspired after its New Year’s release date, but Kanye’s return to stripped down auto-tune is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a song about his daughter, from the perspective of his mother and though Kanye is known partially for his sincerity, he’s never made anything as beautifully honest as this.
Rihanna with Kanye West and Paul McCartney
Apparently Kanye and McCartney are making a tour around pop music this year and so far the results have been wonderful. Rihanna’s song is stripped down, lead by an acoustic guitar, giving it a sense of importance and honesty that again hits this sort of beautiful note. The song is pretty simple lyrically, which–because of the way it is presented musically–actually makes it work quite well. There is a world where this song is backed by some sort of David Guetta EDM beat and this world is awful; I’m giving credit to McCartney–who I assumed made the musical decisions here–for putting this thing together.
Joey BADA$$ “Christ Conscious”
This track features BADA$$ going hard–I know I’m not the typical crowd for a song like this, the sort of braggadocio that a lot of hip hop is known for–but BADA$$ absolutely goes for it here. The song is essentially three minutes of him (explicitly) telling the listener that he uses the mic like a gun, slaying people everywhere.